Italian Meatballs

July 27, 2011

Main Dishes

Finding a good meatball can be hard at times they are either bland and dry or greasy beyond all measure.  They can be mealy or rock hard.  What makes a really good meatball?  One that is tender flavorful moist and beefy, for the most part this is a rare thing.  The Hungry Neophyte and I were talking about good meatballs a few weeks ago and I was reminded again today that I had not given him the recipe for these.  While chatting with The H.N. at my appointment today the subject came up again as he asked what I was doing this afternoon and I commented that I was making spaghetti and meatballs. Commence the drooling.

I truly enjoy the cooking conversations The H.N. and I have each week, he is ALWAYS making me think, usually in a different way that I would normally do.  He does to me what I used to do to my class…asking “Why?”  The give and take during these cooking conversations is something I could do for hours.  So my Cooking Acolytes you have The Hungry Neophyte  thank for finally getting me to commit to paper this meatball recipe.

The key to a good meatball is to treat it like you are making pie crust.  What I mean is you want to be gentle when you are mixing everything together you don’t want to mix it like you are kneading bread dough to work the gluten, you want to use a light touch.  I use exam gloves as it lessens the heat transfer from my hands to the meat and I can just whip them off and not have to wash them every time I need to go from mixing to say chopping or what have you.

By changing the spices you can use the basic steps to align your flavor profile to the application.

Italian Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs Ground Chuck

1/2 c Panko Bread crumbs

3/4-1c Good Parmesan Cheese (not the stuff in the green can!)

1/2  finely diced onion

1/2 pkg (3/4oz) Fresh Thyme

1/2 pkg (3/4oz) Fresh Oregano

3 to 5 stems Fresh Rosemary

4 cloves Garlic (finely minced)

1 ts Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1/2 ts Kosher Salt

Remove the leaves from the woody stems of the Rosemary and  Oregano (toss the stems) and finely mince; removing the stems from the Thyme is optional as they are rather fine and can be minced with no problem.  Put your ground chuck into a large mixing bowl toss in the spices, Garlic as well as the Pepper and salt. With soft hands combine the spices into the ground Chuck.  Once the spices are mixed in the toss in the Panko bread crumbs and the Parm, again use a light hand when mixing everything in

Do the spices first then add the Panko, onions and Parm after tossing in the spices.

It should look like this when you are finished tossing in the goods.

To portion out the meatballs you can weigh them out or use a disher so that they are all the same size so that they cook at the same time.  I use a cookie disher, yes it is flat on one side but I am OK with that because when they go into the oven they will not be rolling around while I am trying to transport them in and out of the oven.  I did my meatballs about an 1″ and was able to get 36 out of this recipe. I use a wire rack in a cookie sheet lined with foil ( I hate cleaning up all the drippings) to bake them.

I love the color of the fresh spices peeking out.

OK, they go into a 350 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size you are making, the smell of them cooking is amazing!  You want them just barely done in the center as the carry over heat will complete them once you remove them.

I paired them with the Ragu sauce posted earlier along with the pasta, if you are going to sauce them be sure you don’t allow the sauce to boil as it will break your lovely little meatballs apart, they are delicate things.

Into the Ragu pool with everyone…

I serve this with a crusty sourdough bread run under the broiler to toast.

Now go play with your food.



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6 Comments on “Italian Meatballs”

  1. Hungry Neophyte Says:

    Thank you Jan!
    So simple, yet looks so delicious.

    Hopefully this will end my quest for the perfect meatball…

    -Hungry Neophyte



    • Wikijancooks Says:

      I hope they are what you are looking for, just remember “light hands” when mixing them together…to use your words toss everything “with finesse.” You don’t what to do like you explained to me when describing how to strengthen my wrist with the container of rice, that is too much power to mix every thing together.

      You can substitute ground turkey but they will be more “tougher” and on the “mealy” side. They still taste good but the mouth feel is very different. I do use ground turkey when I am making BBQ meatballs since there is little to no fat to cook out of the ground turkey so you can just toss them in the BBQ sauce and allow them to cook.

      Let me know how they turn out for you.



  2. Allison Justice Says:

    Hi Jan!!! I am making these tonight for the hubby. He is so excited. Haha! Thank you for all of these delicious recipes! You know I am a huge fan! I’ll let you know if I can pull these off! Haha



    • Wikijancooks Says:

      Hi Allison!
      They are super easy and you should, depending on how large you make them, have enough to freeze some for another meal. I am amazed at how populate to recipe is its always in the top ten for the week. I’m glad you are finding things you want to try. Let me know how they turn out



      • Allison Justice Says:

        Absolutely the best meatballs I’ve ever had, and the hubby agrees! He said it had been three months since his last home cooked meal (slight exaggeration!), but it was worth the wait. Lol Heaven in the mouth! Ha! The combination of the herbs was perfect! I’m in love! Now, I want to get brave enough to try your ragu sauce. I’m so not at that leve. Thanks again for this blog. I am so thankful for the pictures and step by step directions! 🙂


      • Wikijancooks Says:

        I am really glad you and the Hubby enjoyed these. They are really great. If you can make these meatballs you can do my ragu sauce its just as easy just takes more time but its not time you are standing in front of the stove. I star mine early in the morning and allow it to cook down for a few hours while I do other stuff in the house. Now that you see how easy these recipes are jump right in and start making everything! The Hubby will have a happy belly!

        If you would like to try some of the sauce before jumping in let me know and I will bring a jar to the store for you.


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